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The Minor Law Books (SBE33), by Julius Jolly, [1889], at



* 1. 1 Whatever act is performed by force (sahas) by persons inflamed with (the pride of) strength, is called Sâhasa (a heinous offence); sahas (force) means strength in this world.

* 2. 2 Manslaughter, robbery, an indecent assault on another man's wife, and the two species of insult, such are the four kinds of Heinous Offences.

* 3. It is again declared to be threefold in the law-books, viz. (heinous offences) of the first, middle-most, and highest degree. The definition of each kind shall be given as follows.

* 4. 4 Destroying, reviling, disfiguring or otherwise

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[paragraph continues] (injuring) fruits, roots, water and the like, or agricultural utensils, is declared to be Sâhasa of the first degree.

* 5. (Injuring) in the same way clothes, cattle, food, drink, or household utensils, is declared to be Sâhasa of the middlemost degree.

* 6. Taking human life through poison, weapons or other (means of destruction), indecent assault on another man's wife, and whatever other (offences) encompassing life (may be imagined), is called Sâhasa of the highest degree.

* 7. The punishment to be inflicted for it must be proportionate to the heaviness of the crime, (so however as) not to be less than a hundred (Panas) for Sâhasa of the first degree, whereas for Sâhasa of the middlemost degree the punishment is declared by persons acquainted with the law to be no less than five hundred (Panas).

* 8. 8 For Sâhasa of the highest degree, a fine amounting to no less than a thousand (Panas) is ordained. (Moreover) corporal punishment, confiscation of the entire property, banishment from the town and branding, as well as amputation of that limb (with which the crime has been committed), is declared to be the punishment for Sâhasa of the highest degree.

* 9. 9 This gradation of punishments is ordained for every (caste) indiscriminately, excepting only corporal punishment in the case of a Brahman. A Brahman . must not be subjected to corporal punishment.

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* 10. Shaving his head, banishing him from the town, branding him on the forehead with a mark of the crime of which he has been convicted, and parading him on an ass, shall be his punishment.

* 11. Those who have committed Sâhasa of either of the two first degrees are allowed to mix in society, after having been punished, but if a man has committed Sâhasa of the highest degree, no one is allowed to speak to him, even when he has received punishment.

* 12. 12 Theft is a special kind of it. The difference between (Sâhasa and theft) is as follows. Sâhasa is where the criminal act consists of a forcible attack, theft is where it is done by fraud.

* 13. 13 That (theft) is again declared to be threefold by the wise, according to the (value of the) articles (purloined), whether articles of small, middling, or superior value have been stolen.

* 14. 14 Earthenware, a seat, a couch, bone, wood, leather, grass, and the like, legume, grain, and prepared food, these are termed articles of small value.

* 15. Clothes made of other material than silk, cattle other than cows, and metals other than gold, are (termed) articles of middling value, and so are rice and barley.

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* 16. 16 Gold, precious stones, silk, women, men, cows, elephants, horses, and what belongs to a god, a Brahman, or a king, these are regarded as articles of superior value.

17. Taking away by any means whatsoever the property of persons asleep, or disordered in their intellect, or intoxicated, is declared to be theft by the wise.

18. 18 Where stolen goods are found with a man, he may be presumed to be the thief. (The possession of) stolen goods may be inferred from a luxurious mode of life. Suspicion arises where a man is seen in bad company or indulges in extravagance.

* 19. 19 Those who give food or shelter to thieves seeking refuge with them, or who suffer them (to escape) though able (to arrest them), partake of their crime themselves.

* 20. 20 Those who do not come to offer assistance, when people are crying out (for help) within their hearing, or when property is being taken away, are likewise accomplices in the crime.

* 21. That series of punishments, which has been ordained by the wise for the three kinds of Sâhasa, is equally applicable to theft, according as it concerns one of the three species of articles in their order.

22. When cows or other (animals) have been lost,

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or when (other) property has been taken away forcibly, experienced men shall trace it from the place where it has been taken.

23. 23 Wherever the footmarks go to, whether it be a village, pasture ground or deserted spot (the inhabitants or owners of) that place must make good the loss, unless they can prove the footmarks to go out of that place again.

24. 24 When the footmarks are obscured or interrupted, because (they lead to) broken ground or to a spot much frequented by other people, the nearest village or pasture ground shall be made responsible.

25. Where two persons have gone the same road, the offence, as a rule, shall be imputed to him who stood charged with other crimes before, or who associates with suspicious characters.

26. 26 Kandâlas, executioners, and other such persons, as well as those who are in the habit of roaming at night, shall institute a search (after the thieves) in the villages; those living outside (of inhabited places) shall search (for them) outside.

27. When the thieves are not caught, the king must make good (the loss) from his own treasury. By showing himself remiss (towards criminals), he would incur sin and would offend both against justice and his own interest.


202:1 XIV, 1. The term Sâhasa, literally 'violence,' is used to denote violent deeds or heinous offences of every sort. Manu VIII, 332; Yâgñavalkya II, 230.

202:2 This text is omitted in the Nepalese MS.

202:4 'Destroying,' i.e. totally annihilating the fruits and other objects mentioned in this text. 'Reviling,' i.e. abusing, using bad p. 203 language. 'Disfiguring,' injuring so far only as to leave the form intact. Vîramitrodaya, p. 499.

203:8 8, 9. The ambiguous term vadha in these two paragraphs is p. 204 explained as denoting corporal punishment, and not execution, by the commentators.

203:9 9, 10. Gautama XII, 46, 47; Vishnu V, 2-8; Yâgñavalkya II, 270; Manu VIII, 124, 379-380.

204:12 'A criminal act' (âdhih), i.e. injuring another man's property; 'through a forcible attack,' i.e. violently, is called theft equivalent to Sâhasa; a criminal act done 'by fraud' is called ordinary theft. Vîramitrodaya, p. 490. Manu VIII, 332.

204:13gñavalkya II, 275.

204:14 Manu VIII, 326-329.

205:16 See the Indian law of prescription, where the property of Brahmans and kings is declared to be exempt from the ordinary rules regarding limitation. Manu VIII, 323.

205:18gñavalkya II, 266.

205:19 Those who give food or any other assistance to a thief, or who suffer a thief to escape though able to seize him, have to be punished like thieves. Vivâdakintâmani, p. 93. Manu IX, 278; Yâgñavalkya II, 276.

205:20 Manu IX, 275. This text is omitted in the Nepalese MS.

206:23gñavalkya II, 271.

206:24gñavalkya II, 272.

206:26 Manu IX, 267.

Next: Fifteenth and Sixteenth Titles of Law. Abuse and Assault